Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

BILLIE JO 'TOLD OF BEATING BY DAD'; Schoolgirl Asked Friends to Keep It Secret, Jury Told

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

BILLIE JO 'TOLD OF BEATING BY DAD'; Schoolgirl Asked Friends to Keep It Secret, Jury Told

Article excerpt

Byline: PAUL CHESTON

MURDERED schoolgirl Billie-Jo Jenkins wept as she told friends that her foster father had punched and scratched her, the Old Bailey heard today.

Billie-Jo, 13, said deputy headmaster Sion Jenkins had scratched her around the neck leaving marks that were "really red, sore and looking as if they had been bleeding," the court was told.

The jury heard that Jenkins had struck out when Billie-Jo objected to him hitting her dog Buster. Holly Prior, then aged 13, told the jury that Billie-Jo had sworn her and another friend to secrecy.

But she came forward when Billie-Jo was battered to death with a metal tent peg at the family home in Hastings in February 1997. Jenkins, 48, of Lymington, Hampshire, denies murdering her.

Another friend of Billie-Jo told the court that the teenager had arrived at school with blood on her mouth and shirt, claiming her foster father had punched her in the face. Laura Jane Conway said that Jenkins often went "mad and ballistic" at Billie-Jo.

She said the allegation of punching had occurred just weeks before the murder. In an interview with police a month after the murder, a video of which was shown to the jury today, Ms Conway said that she often saw scratches on Billie-Jo, which her friend attributed to the dog.

"But it was different to scratches that an animal would give her," she said.

"One day Billie... took us to the toilets at school and just said she had scratches all around her neck and a bruise.

"I asked her what had happened and she said Sion was striking Buster and Billie told Sion to stop and he pinned her up against the toilet door and scratched her face. He told her her it was up to him and he would often tell her off and was really strict and that.

"Billie told us not to tell anyone. She had finger scratches across her neck and a bruise. …

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